Page extent: 96
ISBN: 9781786822833
Binding: Paperback

Young Marx

Richard Bean, Clive Coleman

Paperback (18 Oct 2017)

1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy.

Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781786822833
Binding Paperback
Page Extent 96


'Richard Bean – co-writing with Clive Coleman – has come up with a wily, fast-paced comedy that presents us with the author of Das Kapitalnot as the venerable economist of later repute but as the thirty-two year old refugee, chaotic. penniless, and newly arrived in Soho where he is crammed in a two-room flat in Dean Street with wife, children and maid.  On the run (up chimneys and over roof-tops) from creditors and spies, Europe's most feared terrorist has mislaid his mojo – his writing is blocked, his marriage is on the blink, and his pal Engels (presented here as the other half of political economy's most noteworthy music-hall double act) is wretched that our endlessly procrastinating genius has applied, in desperation, for a job as a railway clerk... It takes his dialectical materialism seriously in many witty allusions.  Whether he is correctly predicting the commodification of Christmas or – in a stirring speech – inaccurately foreseeing the downfall of capitalism in just such a market crash as we have all recently lived though, you never doubt the sincerity or tenacity of his vision, qualities magnified by the unpropitiousness of the circumstances. And what makes the piece especially timely is its adroit portrait of an open London where refugees were welcomed and where a wanted man like Marx, in flight from the wave of 1848 revolutions in Europe and mistakenly branded a terrorist, could escape arrest or extradition.  An appetite-whetting start for a bold, risky venture that has its priorities right and deserves success.' Independent ★★★★

'The fascinating period in exile (circa 1850) that Bean has alighted on was actually the worst of times for the 32-year-old Marx: dingy rented accommodation in Soho, constant illness and continual debt. The brisk, two-hour evening attains pathos near the end with the death of one of many Marx babes, little Guido, spurring the resolve needed to press on with Das Kapital, but for much of the time it replays grim personal history as farce... Bean never stops a gag getting in the way of a good story and, with Kinnear on up-Rory-ious form (spot-on comic timing, plus that winning helpless thing he does with his face to assist his strangulated elocution) there are plenty of groaners that would have even made Stalin chuckle.' Telegraph ★★★★

'A shrewd and sometimes sweet imagination is brought to bear on the presence of Marx himself, brilliantly incarnated by Rory Kinnear: hectic, elusive, opportunistic, wild. It is a comic, zestfully physical performance, with poignant touches... I don’t think I’ve ever seen farcical devices – doors flung open on to secret conversations, bolts rhythmically clanged shut – employed to such telling psychological effect. And, oh, the capering: Kinnear shins up a wall, appears on a roof, clambers up a chimney and crams himself into a cupboard. Bean’s play rampages. It also has notes of sadness, melancholy, resignation and resistance... And the drama ends by suggesting that the intelligence of these women significantly contributed to Marxist thought and writing. Hurrah for the male playwrights Richard Bean and Clive Coleman.' The Guardian